Ankara eyes firing range in Aegean as talks near

Ankara appears to be intent on creating a new firing range beneath Aegean air space, according to diplomatic sources who have expressed growing concern about a shift in Turkey’s stance even as bilateral talks on confidence-building measures draw near.

These concerns are expected to hang over talks Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is due to have in Istanbul on Monday and Ankara on Tuesday in meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (photo) and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu respectively.

It is likely that announcements will be made vis-a-vis the upcoming talks on confidence-building measures.

But the thorny Aegean issue remains a concern. Experienced diplomats have observed clear and strategic shifts in Turkey’s stance in the Aegean, Kathimerini understands.

Turkey is keen to mark out its own firing range in the Aegean, arguing that Greece has three, sources said.

But Greece’s firing ranges are legal while Turkey is said to be eyeing areas within the Athens Flight Information Region, which would be illegal, according to the same sources.

Greece’s armed forces have ruled out the possibility of abolishing Greek firing ranges in the Aegean, noting that this would raise security issues.

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